WENCHANG, November 24. /TASS/. China's Changzheng-5 launch vehicle successfully launched the Chang'e-5 automatic reentry vehicle, which is expected to deliver lunar soil samples to Earth in about three weeks, announced the launch control center of the Wenchang cosmodrome on Hainan.
According to the control center, in about eight days "Chang'e-5" will land on the Moon, after which it will begin drilling to extract gravel. In total, it is planned to collect 2 kg of lunar rock, which will be studied by Chinese scientists both for scientific purposes and for a project to prepare for the construction of a research base on a natural satellite of our planet.
The Changzheng-5 (CZ-5) launch vehicle was launched at 04:30 local time (23:30 Moscow time, Monday) in accordance with the planned schedule. If the entire mission is successful, China will become the first country in 44 years to implement a project to transport geological samples from the lunar surface.
The Chang'e-5 lunar vehicle weighs 8.2 tonnes and consists of four modules designed for landing on the Moon, taking off from its surface, docking and reloading containers with samples in orbit, and also for returning to Earth. The mission was originally planned for 2017, then it was postponed to the end of 2019, and then to November 2020.
It is expected that the project for the soil delivery will become a new milestone in the development of China's lunar program, since it will test in practice the correctness of Beijing's strategy for the development of the moon. Moreover, useful information will be obtained that can stimulate the development of Chinese space technology.